For countless dog owners, things can quickly get out of hands when their pets get a little too excited. There are many ways to curb destructive behavior and engage your pooch in a more productive activity. Snuffle mats for dogs are excellent at just this!
The idea is simple, dog’s snuffle mats are essentially puzzles made from cloth that can hide treats. In effect, snuffle mats keep your dogs busy for extended periods, stimulate their brains, and allow them to spend their energy in a non-destructive manner.
What Are Dog Snuffle Mats?
The idea for a snuffle mat was initially conceived by dog-lovers in the Netherlands. A snuffle mat is made from pieces of fleece sewn together in such a way that kibble can be hidden within. These mats come in various shapes, sizes, and colors. The mat is used to stimulate mental activity as well as regulate your dog’s feeding process.
Research suggests that snuffle mats and other interactive dog toys actually make your dog smarter and improve their IQ. This attribute has obvious benefits, such as improved focus and ability to train better. In addition, these mats prevent dogs from eating too fast. Pups love treats and jump right in head first into their food bowl as soon as it’s filled. This behavior can be dangerous for your dog and lead to indigestion and more serious issues such as chronic gastric volvulus in some cases.
Snuffle mats eliminate the possibility of your dog shoving its food down in a matter of seconds. Instead, dog snuffle mats prolong meal and playtime for your dog.
How to Choose the Right Snuffle Mat for Dogs?
Choosing any run of the mill toy or activity for your dog can potentially be unsafe and harmful. Some times a low-quality toy barely lasts a few minutes before dogs chew it up. While in some instances, cheap toys or unknown companies use sub-par materials that may be toxic for your dog. To avoid these mistakes, we have curated a list of features you should look for in a snuffle dog mats.
Snuffle mats come in a variety of sizes. Often, as their size grows, so does their thickness and weight. You can find snuffle mats the size of 6″ W x 6″ L to large mats with dimensions of 39″W x 39″L. These are the most common sizes available, but you can find other varieties as well. Moreover, snuffle mats come in the form of circles, rectangles as well as other shapes.
Fleece is the primary material used in snuffle mats. Its stitched together to form a vibrant snuffle activity mat. Moreover, the fleece used to make these mats comes in varying thicknesses and a variety of colors. The fleece used must be non-toxic and safe for dogs. Moreover, many brands go the extra mile to be environmentally sustainable – they use upcycled and eco-friendly materials.
These mats, especially large snuffle mats, need to have a grip on the floor surface so it doesn’t move around while the dog is foraging for food. The solution is stitching an anti-slip material beneath the mat. These are the important factors you should look for when you’re out looking for a snuffle mat.
As with many other interactive toys, snuffle mats also come in varying degrees of difficulty. Some dogs are inherently smart, such as retrievers. But, all dogs can be trained to solve puzzle toys with progressively increasing difficulty.
If this is your dog’s first toy, try to start off with a simple design. A snuffle mat that’s too complex will frustrate your dog and discourage it from sniffing ut the treats. As a result, your dog will get bored quickly and may start showing troubling behavior. Similarly, if your dog is really smart, it will quickly work through the fringes if they are too far apart.
7 Best Snuffle Mats for Dogs
Because they’re so popular, there are all sorts of mats in the market. Often times, they come with unique selling points:
- Personalized dog food mat
- Snuffle mat for training
- A DIY washable snuffle mat
Out of thousands of products, we have chosen 7 of the best snuffle mats for dogs. We have discussed each of their features below, followed by a guide to making your very own DIY snuffle dog mat.
1. Paw5 Wooly Snuffle Mat
If you’ve seen yourself asking the question, are snuffle mats any good? Take a look at the wooly snuffle mat. The wooly is a high-quality snuffle mat made from non-toxic and safe materials. This mat is manufactured ethically by PAW5’s global community partners in Thailand and Ghana. The dimensions for this snuffle mat are 12″ x 18″.
Wooly is an excellent mat suitable for all breed sizes. This is especially beneficial for people multi-pet households with different dog breeds. Moreover, you can rest assured that PAW5 practices ethical manufacturing processes.
While this is a high-quality product, it has a major flaw. One strong shrug from dogs sends treats flying out. A number of users complained about their dogs flipping over the mat and getting easy access to their treats in minutes, which defeats the whole purpose of buying this mat.
2. Nosework Feeding Mat
This unique feeding mat has a number of different patterns to hide treats all on the same mat. The Nosework feeding mat is made from high-quality upcycled polar fleece. Moreover, the mat has an anti-slip surface and can be tied up when not in use. Nosework has rated this one as a machine-washable snuffle mat. The mat comes in two different sizes:
- Medium: 23.6″ x 39.4″
- Large: 39.4″ x 39.4″
We think this mat could easily be one of the best snuffle mats for large dogs, due to its large size and ease of use. Speaking of ease of use, the mat can be folded up and shelved or taken with you on travels. Since it’s machine washable, you don’t have to worry about the cleanup hassle. Moreover, this mat features a few different designs. The variety of puzzles is bound to keep dogs interested by giving them a new challenge.
A recurring issue that a few users have faced is how fragile the mat is for your dog is a heavy chewer, this mat may not last long for you.
3. Darkyazi Snuffle Mat
The Darkyazi snuffle mat is yet another versatile snuffle mat. It’s a simple design that offers a few different puzzles/patterns for dogs. Its aim is to mimic the scent detention as well as professional detection dog tasks. The mat comes in blue, brown, grey, and pink color options, and has two sizes:
- Medium: 23.6″ x 39.4″
- Large: 39.4″ x 39.4″
Because it comes in two different sizes, it’s ideal for small dogs as well as large ones. The brand is ethical and uses up-cycled fabric for sustainability. The polar fleece used is safe and comfortable for dogs. Moreover, the mat is easy to use, since its machine washable and can be folded up and stored without a hassle.
This mat is also victim to the common chewing problem. Heavy chewers can chew through it easily, and have been reported to do so in less than a week.
4. Petvins Dog Snuffle Mat
This comfortable blanket snuffle mat comes in vibrant colors suitable for dogs, cats, as well as little piggies. Moreover, the toy is made from good quality fleece and features anti-slip pads. Petvins makes this mat in three different sizes:
- Small: 19.7″ x 29.5″
- Medium: 24″ x 39.3″
- Large: 39.3″ x 39.3″
This is one of the best snuffle mats for small dogs in the market since its available in smaller sizes. Moreover, it has all the benefits we expect from a good quality dog activity mat such as machine washability, environmentally friendly manufacturing, and is safe for dogs. A unique selling point of this mat is that its available in a variety of vibrant colors, and is super comfy for dogs.
One scary aspect of this toy is that your dog may chew the sides and expose the metal chunks. These chunks can potentially be chewed on by heavy chewers.
5. Snuffle Mat by LC-Dolida
The LC-Dolida snuffle mat comes in a striking blue and pink color combo. Its visually appealing design is sure to catch your dog’s attention. The mat is made from non-toxic all-natural fleece that’s safe for dogs. Apart from being a feeding mat, this excellent puzzle toy is aimed at activating your dog’s mind and hone its foraging skills. This toy is suitable for small to medium-sized dogs, it measures 17.72″ x 17.72″.
The toy is ideal for little energetic pets who love mind-puzzling games. This mat is especially beneficial to dogs that have a problem of rushing to eat their food, as it allows you to slow-feed them. Moreover, LC-Dolida claims the fleece is durable, so it won’t easily get torn if your dog tries to chew on it.
One downside of this is mat is that it only comes in small sizes. This limitation makes it unsuitable for larger dogs.
6. IFOYO Dog Feeding Mat
The IFOYO feeding mat is one of Amazon’s choice products! It’s available in six different vibrant colors. The toy comes with two straps that keep it from slipping around. The fleece has a few different designs, such as flower-shaped puzzles, as well as butterflies and other misc designs. Moreover, the mat is machine washable, and comes in three different sizes:
- S: 19.7″ x 17.7″ x 3.2″
- L: 29.5″ x 17.7″ x 3.2″
- X-L: 35.4″ x 35.4″ x 3.2″
This mat is available in six different colors to choose from, which is not common in most other brands. Moreover, it comes with the standard pros of a good quality mat, such as being machine-wash friendly and made with non-toxic materials. Additionally, you can get discounts if you buy multiple mats from IFOYO.
Unfortunately, this mat doesn’t last long with heavy chewers. A few buyers have claimed that this mat is suitable only for timid dogs.
7. DIFFLIFE Snuffle Mat
DIFFLIFE snuffle mat is handmade from sustainable and environmentally sustainable materials. It has a few different puzzles to challenge your dog and comes with carry-on handles for ease of use. Additionally, the manufacturer claims the fabric is durable and strong. The training mat comes in two sizes:
- Medium: 23.6×39.4 inches
- Large: 39.4×39.4 inches
This training mat challenges your dog through different puzzles and prevents boredom and destructive behavior. Moreover, the mat allows for rewarding indoor interaction between the owner and pet, which helps animals bond well with their human companions.
While the mat is of great quality, it has a minor flaw – the fringes are sewn too far apart. Because of that, some dogs may get to their food too quickly. It would’ve been better if the fringes were closer to as to make foraging for food a bit more tricky.
DIY Snuffle Mats for Dogs
Many owners prefer to weave together their own training mats. So, following our review of the best snuffle mats, we’ll discuss how to make a washable snuffle mat. It’s easy to make a snuffle mat on your own, provided you know the right procedure. This section discusses how to make a snuffle mat at home.
Step 1: Gathering the Materials
The first course of action will be gathering materials you’ll need:
- A rubber anti-fatigue mat: Get a suitable sized mat from your nearest hardware store
- Lots of fleece: The amount of fleece will vary depending on the size of your snuffle mat. For starters, 4 to 5 yards of fleece should be enough for a 12×12 inch mat
- A pair of sharp scissors
Step 2: Cutting the Fleece
This part will require a lot of patience and time. All the fleece you set aside needs to be cut into thin strips. This isn’t an arts and craft project, so don’t worry about making the cuts clean, symmetrical, or equal. This step should take a few hours, and then you’ll be all set to make your own snuffle mat.
Step 3: Weaving
Now comes the slightly intricate part. Its time to weave the fleece strips through the holes in your rubber mat. Make sure you weave through in a set pattern, i.e. horizontally or vertically. After weaving one strip, give it a single tie at the end. Repeat the process until the whole mat is weaved through and looks all plush for your dog to snuffle through. At this point, you can add a few finishing touches, such as decorating it with the leftover fleece.
It’s a good idea to look up ideas on the web. Lots of dog lovers have blogs about gathering a snuffle mat kit and making the best snuffle mat for their dogs.
Snuffle mats for dogs provide a lot of utility for the price. Some people are skeptical of these mats. They wonder if snuffle mats are safe for dogs, and what kind of fabric is used. If you have the time and energy to piece together your own training mat, then that is by far the safest option for you. Alternatively, buying a mat from a reputable brand that uses non-toxic, polar fleece should remove any doubts about the mat being unsafe.